The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with the European Union officially launched their market intelligence portal, known as CE-INTELLIGENCE.

At the media launch held at the newly renovated Warrens Great House on Tuesday 10th, July 2018, Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton outlined the importance of the CE-Intelligence portal for private sector firms looking to grow their businesses through exporting to new markets.  “Trade, business intelligence and market research are key for the successful entry into export markets” explained Coke-Hamilton.  The portal will enable firms to “develop their own customised reports to learn more about market entry requirements in any given country, important trade data, and key business contacts” informed Coke Hamilton.

Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, Eastern Caribbean States, OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM Mr. Luis Maia highlighted that market intelligence is an indispensable commodity in today’s technology driven environment.  Further the portal will complement the EU’s Trade Helpdesk to enhance the business opportunities of those looking to penetrate the EU markets.  “For no longer can business persons operate successful businesses, without adequate knowledge of market requirements,” Maia explained to the attending private sector.

The CE-Intelligence portal was conceptualized to assist firms in being more strategic in their market entry plans as it provides an easily accessible platform for the region’s Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) to access accurate and high-quality data free of charge, which reduces the cost, time and effort required to make strategic business decisions.

The question as to why many businesses did not make that move to export was raised by the Hon. Minister Sandra Husbands in her keynote.  Charging that a cultural fear of the unknown was often a reason for businesses not venturing in to export, Minister Husbands congratulated the Agency for providing a much-needed tool that will make it easier for firms to move out of their comfort zones to explore export markets and benefit from the economies of scale that are synonymous with larger markets.  Moreover, Minister. Husbands called on entrepreneurs to make it second nature to include export as part of their business plans in view of the small market typical of small islands.

The CE-Intelligence portal provides information for its users in the areas of trade and business intelligence; access to finance with a listing of financial institutions and opportunities across the region; step by step export guides including a series of videos that explain the key elements of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); foreign direct investment and a section on food safety providing information on the market entry requirements of key markets such as the EU, the USA, and Canada.

It is hoped that with the introduction of the CE-Intelligence portal the true potential of regional brands is unlocked with the use of high-quality information to aid in decision making.